• We look for medicine to be an orderly field of knowledge and procedure. But it is not. It is an imperfect science, an enterprise of constantly changing knowledge, uncertain information, fallible individuals, and at the same time lives on the line. There is science in what we do, yes, but also habit, intuition, and sometimes plain old guessing. The gap between what we know and what we aim for persists. And this gap complicates everything we do

    Atul Gawande
  • Betterment is perpetual labor. The world is chaotic, disorganized, and vexing, and medicine is nowhere spared that reality. To complicate matters, we in medicine are also only human ourselves. We are distractible, weak, and given to our own concerns. Yet still, to live as a doctor is to live so that one's life is bound up in others' and in science and in the messy, complicated connection between the two It is to live a life of responsibility. The question then, is not whether one accepts the responsibility. Just by doing this work, one has. The question is, having accepted the responsibility, how one does such work well

    Atul Gawande
  • Are doctors who make mistakes villains? No, because then we all are

    Atul Gawande
  • This was not guilt: guilt is what you feel when you have done something wrong. What I felt was shame: I was what was wrong

    Atul Gawande
  • Life is choices, and they are relentless. No sooner have you made one choice than another is upon you

    Atul Gawande
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